Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oct | 31 | Of Carrots and Calebs

Key Word:- COURAGE

Title:- Of Carrots and Calebs

Joel 2:28,29 “And it shall come to pass afterward. That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days…..”

Lieth Anderson in the forward to a very informative church planting resource book called ‘Into The Future’ talks about what he calls his ‘recurring fantasy.’ In it, he imagines himself ‘walking down the streets of heaven and having a stranger come up to him and say “Excuse me. Someone told me you lived on earth at the beginning of the twenty first century, you know, back when God was doing His great thing in the church, back when the gospel was spreading everywhere. Is that true? Were you there? What was it like? What was your part?” I wonder if maybe Mr Anderson is maturing into a dreamy old Caleb?

My circle of life experience has put me into contact with many older men at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the next and so far, and I can only speak for myself, it has not been an overwhelmingly enlivening experience, for they have been more like carrots than Caleb’s! You know, just old 'stick in the muds' with weird hair styles, funny coloured clothes and an odd smell about them. Apart from a couple, there has been nothing to aspire to. I mean nothing.

I imagine Caleb of old however, especially in his 80's, to be a man the young guys respected and wouldn’t dare to mess with. A man they longed to emulate, indeed, me thinks that the effect of even the presence of such an old warrior like Caleb, would shape your knees substantially. Do you know what I mean?

Caleb’s grip on grace would bring you to your knees in thankfulness and adoration of God Most High; Caleb’s grip on his sword would make your knees knock together should he even allow his fierce hand to brush against it in some kind gesticulation; Caleb’s grip on the greatness of God, would make your knees shake and his grip on the fire of God reflected in his excited eyes at the coming conflict and victory, would warm you so much that it would be as though on a winter's night you had sat too close to the blazing fire in an open hearth. Caleb would burn you friends. Caleb would excite you. Caleb would move you, make you be the man you could be, even the man you should be! If you could be with Caleb, then I know you would want to be like Caleb, I guarantee it, for Caleb is a powerful old dreamer that looks to the heights, and rather than cry, “Give me my pension,” he sees his possession and booms in believing faith, “Give me my mountain!”. Then, by fierce conflict, he seizes it from the foe and in so doing, teaches us youngsters how to fight and win, how to be and how to become more than conquerors. Caleb has a different spirit within him you see. Always has had, always will.

Unfortunately in our pews, as the old century now slowly slips away forever, all I have seen is row upon row of carrots! I do not wish to be mean, but we all know, and the devil knows, that there is little menacing to his kingdom, about a carrot! Tell me friend. How can our young men have victorious visions, if our old men don’t dare to dream the dreams of God? Oh carrots my carrots, my eyes weep in secret for your pride; my eyes weep bitterly and run down with tears for the young that have been taken captive and have had their eyes gouged out by you musty old vegetables. May God forgive you for this and may God help us who have allowed it to happen. I would like to blame the cabbage patch women for the planting of carrot like men but I cannot for it is the ministers who are the most complicit for planting these rows of vegetables.

Young friend, if that fantastic question in the fantasy of Mr Anderson will ever be asked of you in heaven, wouldn’t it be great, if along with Leith Anderson you could reply with a gleeful smile, “Yes I was there. God did wonderfully amazing things. Let me tell you my exciting share!” Go on young brothers and sisters, dream a little; do some ‘visioneering’ yourself and go believe and go achieve some great things with God! Ignore the carrots, for they are rotting in the ground even now and if you can, go seek out the few remaining blacksmiths who might still tool you up real good. If God’s grace permits, become a Caleb yourself, for God help us, we could do with a few I can tell you!

P.S. Don’t believe the old wives tale that ‘carrots are good for your eyesight.’ I tell you, it’s just not true.

Listen:- Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, For the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God Before He causes darkness, And before your feet stumble On the dark mountains, And while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death And makes it dense darkness. But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly And run down with tears, Because the LORD's flock has been taken captive. Jeremiah 13:15-17

Pray: - Oh Lord, Oh God, Oh Jesus. Please! Where are the aged warriors that can teach Your soldiers war? Oh God where are the dreamers of old? Lord, deliver us from our present blind and pitiful patriarchs, those most comfortable and careful carrots, that we may not die in the wilderness and rot in the ground along with them. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Oct | 31 | The Dark Billions & The Baptism at Bellarmine

Dream Word – CHANGE

Romans 1:21,23 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, NKJV

The Dark Billions & The Baptism at Bellarmine

I am sat in Detroit Airport as I write this 'NightWhisper'. Already I have been the recipient of free candy distributed by personnel dressed as thieves and one-eyed pirates. Cutsie little Japanese girls dressed as witches holding onto daddy’s hand have just walked past me, as maniacal laughter echoed over the intercom. It’s Halloween here in America and this week, depending on which statistics you read, anywhere from 2.5 to 6.5 billion dollars will be spent on all things gruesome. I tell you this because tonight’s whisper is an Halloween humdinger. Be afraid, be very afraid.

I set the scene at Bellarmine Roman Catholic University, even the repository of the writings of the world renowned, spiritual giant of Thomas Merton. Here this Halloween week, late one night in the decked and darkened halls, a young mother, who for months had been hiding her pregnancy from others, went to the bathroom and whilst all alone, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. The child was then plopped by the young mother directly from the watery womb, yes, right into the watery U bend of the lavatory, where it drowned. Hidden in a garbage bag, the dead child's corpse was eventually found by the police. The mother, even as I write, is being charged with murder.

The most shocking thing about this harrowing Halloween story is however not so much the dreadful event, but the cries from the university staff and the people of America all saying, “My God! How can such a terrible thing be happening in our country and at one of our prized universities!” Since the dark drowning, I have heard this cry on all media sources and I tell you that on this not so happy Halloween, that it is this cry which is the most astonishingly shocking thing I have heard, for it is uttered in both bared-faced stupidity and unforgiving ignorance. Friends, we have sown to the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind.

10% of the nearly one million women getting an abortion in America in 2007, would have cited ‘an inability to successfully complete their chosen education’ as a reason for killing the kid not yet born. It’s an Halloween haunting to consider, that if this young mother, just six months previously or even less maybe, had gone to a licensed practitioner, citing her education and golfing career as a reason for the need for help with murder, then she could have had her baby ripped from her womb, soaked in salt, or vacuumed out in little pieces and all done free of charge. This acceptable and legalised murder would have been followed by all the care and counselling she could ever need of, delivered hard on heels of the dastardly deed, yes indeed, she could have even gotten on with her golfing, whilst the murderers themselves would have received their fee as usual and all the surrounding industry of death been able to further and statistically justify their existence, whilst applying for even more government funding to continue the silent genocide. If she had only acted six months previously, then all would be have been well with the law. Now, you just think about that!

In 2007, America alone has over 40 million murdered babies since Roe V Wade! With such genocidal figures just whose family I wonder, has not been touched by a tragedy such as this. I tell you that I pity this one solitary, sad and silly girl, who out of above 40 million other murderers and countless millions more in complicit genocide, stands as the only one at present counted guilty. At present I say, for judgement is still to come. Still, let’s not think too much about that for after all, it’s Halloween and the orange sugared candy corn abounds, and laughing witches invite me to smile.

In this ‘One Nation Under God', with websites are hosting billions of pornographic pages, with billions of dollars being spent on Halloween, billions being spent on treating sexually transmitted diseases, billions being spent on armaments and war, billions being spent on an entertainment and communications industry that glorifies supernatural darkness as sexy and pushes all the accompanying violence, selfishness, pride, witchcraft, rebellion, atrocity and atrociousness in all its meanest forms down our open mouths, that is not the real shocker! No, The real shocker which remains for me this Halloween, is the startling stupidity of that media cry, that shakes it head in wonder, and then asks the reason, “Why?”

This Halloween, despite all the sugar coated laughter around the shocker of a murderer mum, are all your sins forgiven, are you prepared to flee the wrath to come?

Listen: - “They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind.” Hosea 8:7 NKJV

Pray: Lord, come carve the word 'accounting', into the temples of our thick old pumpkin head, that no more little babies would be murdered, left for dead. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oct | 30 | An Old Skiffler’s Prayer


Title:- An Old Skiffler’s Prayer

John 14:2-4 “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

It was lunchtime when they started gathering under Pavilion No 2, adjacent to Hollywood Beach Boulevard. The hot sun had brought out the gathering 'snow birds' from as far afield as Michigan and Quebec. Motorised scooters, pushed wheelchairs, rubber-wheeled ‘Zimmer’ frames, all carried the crinkly, obese, brown skinned speckled and bespectacled, hat wearing, perm tinted, ‘Joe 90 in his 90’s’, rheumatoid stick people, towards the gathering and slow moving crowd. All this sluggish movement was co-ordinated under the hot sun by an old geezer dressed like ‘Crocodile Dundee’ still kitted out for the movie set, even though he was really on an old pensioners outing to Cleethorpes or some other hot deckchaired waiting room of death. The daily morning gathering of the old survivors of another day of 'life under the sun' had begun.

It was a little bizarre to say the least and to top it all, Pavilion No’s 2 was filled with new state of the art, tall black speakers, complex cables, multi knobbed mixers, shiny saxophones, gaudy guitars, kind clarinets and electric pianolas; surely all very dangerous for the elderly I thought, especially outdoors and with so much water around as well! Then amidst all the technology and crinkly old people, I spotted what I thought was a broom handle sticking out of an old tea chest with a piece of string tightly attached at the top and bottom? Sure enough, it was and the smiling old gargoyle hanging off the end of the contraption commanded the crew and suddenly with a smile and and a simple raised eyebrow, pulled all the creaking and groaning together when with a shout of “1, 2, and a 1, 2, 3, 4” the geriatric gathering groaned into musical life. Limited movement mind you but smiling faces, all soothed and smoothed out now with heavily medicated joints, all now swishing and swaying to and fro together, the implanted tense titanium brushing alongside surgical plastic, inserted aluminium and flesh, and I tell you, for a few minutes, just a few minutes, all the old people had vanished! Looking into their eyes, I could see that they were no longer 80 but maybe 18, somewhere back there, with a girl, a lost love, a young boy, a soldier, all heads bobbing in another time zone, all shoulders slowly moving to recalled memories and to top all the transformation, it was all good physical therapy as well and all for free. Ahhhhh Skiffle! How wonderful.

He told me yesterday on the telephone that just a year ago, he was working outdoors. An older man for sure, but fit, happy and strong, getting ready for retirement. Now as he waited for his cancer induced transplant, the increasing weakness of his body forced him into the deepest of despair. Skiffle and sunshine are of little comfort and poor enjoyment when you finally crawl along the edge of this dark pit of inevitable death and feel its pulling hopelessness. He wasn't sure he would climb back from this edge. Lying flat on his back whilst sucking on bottled oxygen he examined his passing life and questioned the reason and meaning of his existence. “What was the point?” He asked: “What was the point of it all?”

My reply to him was to “find a book”. I said, “Get the biggest one in your house. Open it to the preface, 2nd paragraph down. Now stop. That’s your life.” I said, “That’s all our lives. A few paragraphs in the preface of a book that contains a story few of us ever get to read to the end. It is a very short book at that and mostly mundane. However, those characters belonging to Jesus, those seekers of salvation, those friends of His love, those finders of faith, have their name written now in His book of life, and for such a person, death is but the turning of the preface page where you shall then find yourself in other pages, even the story of the Saviour, beginning the real adventure, the never ending novel, the out of this world opera, the chronicles of the King of love and this time, you shall forever be smiling and in constant happiness, more stronger and satisfied than you ever thought possible.” I told him, “Believe me, your best may have come and gone but His best is yet to come and stay.”

From his wheelchair and under a flat cap on this hot day in Hollywood, another old crinkly crooned and skiffled into the microphone, what should become for us all, a prayer of our old age, our youth, of both our sunshine days and our days of darkness; it’s a peach of a prayer that we should sing to Jesus, our expectant lover. Listen:

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars
In other words hold my hand
In other words:
Darling kiss me
Fill my life with song
And let me sing forevermore
You are all I hope for
All I worship and adore
In other words please be true
In other words:
I love you

Listen:- Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth — For your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you. Draw me away…… Song of Solomon 1:2-4

Pray: - Lord, in the bright days of my youth, and the dark days of my old age, help me to remember this life of mine, this so very small beginning, this so exceptionally small a paragraph, that it can be found through Jesus to become by Your enormous grace, a great unending book in Your ever growing eternal library of the wonderful works of God the good! Help me write my preface large with big red letters of hope and expectation! Before the dark days come, help me write my preface large with great hands of grace and enourmous letters of courage, let my life right now be a testimony to the better life to come. Amen.

Oct | 30 | 'Decisive' of Tunbridge Wells

Dream Word – HOPE

Matthew 9:11-13 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ' NKJV.

‘Decisive’ of Tunbridge Wells

I once lived in Tunbridge Wells, which has often been referred to as the ‘Spiritual home of Middle England,’ that is, the home of the presumed right wing views of middle class, mainstream, non-urban white folks. In light of this, it was the satirical magazine ‘Private Eye,’ who in its playfully constructed, obsessively and excessively complaining ‘letters to the editor,’ always signed them off with mock outrage as ‘Yours faithfully, DISGUSTED of Tunbridge Wells.’ Mock social outrage is of course hilarious! Mock religious outrage born out of a lifetime of fat slumber is however, absolutely anything but funny, for it is both in and of itself a mockery.

In this mad world in which we presently live, in this end of the age relationship freak show, this silicon side show of drug induced enhancement and totally spiritually disenfranchised and demonised societies, I am afraid we need to lay aside any semblance of an attitude which lifts its nose, and shakes its head while writing letters to the Evangelical Times signed by ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.’ For many years far too many folk have done nothing to remedy our societies worsening situation and so really, just how can we act so disgusted? What right do we have?

I wonder if it is at all possible for us to be shocked anymore? No, I didn’t think so. Therefore do not act shocked. Therefore do not feign religious disgust. It will do no good anyhow. Rather, guard yourself and become an exemplary point of moral reference. Rather, gird yourself with grace and stoop to conquer. Rather, go into all this mad and messy world and preach the Gospel to every crazy creature you will come across.

Don’t be disgusted but be decisive about doing something about our society for it is most certainly sick and in great need of the great Physician. Oh and by the way, He shall do those house calls through you! So, are you ready for the sacrifice? Yes, are you ready to call sinners to repentance? Are you learning what this means?

Listen: - I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Matthew 9:13b NKJV)

Pray:- Lord, help us not to feign disgust anymore, but rather fight so compassionately that we would become the beacons of direction, the samples of redemption that this old world most desperately needs. I decide to wake up tonight then! Yes, I decide to take action tonight then, and so on the morrow, become the medic with the medicine even the carer with the call to repentance, sacrificing myself for the salvation of others, seeking Your mercy, sowing in hope and striving for goodness sake.

Yours forever, ‘Decisive’ of Tunbridge Wells.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oct | 29 | 'Calling, Capacities and Cups of Tea!'

Key Word:- FOCUS

Title:- 'Calling, Capacities and Cups of Tea!'

2 Corinthians 10:13,14  We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us — a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves……….

I had actually gotten to the end of the last book of the series! Finally, I fumbled through the last few pages entitled, 'about the author,' to find that he'd written over 30 books and had them translated into 50 languages. Impressive! He'd also attained a doctorate from one prestigious Seminary and a Masters from another world famous institution, and that, in a completely separate discipline. Wow! He'd also pastored for many years, one of his country's fastest growing churches which was now spanning several locations; founded a couple of accredited high schools and networked together a bunch of others; he was also a much sought after international speaker, father of five children (all in the ministry) married to his beautiful wife for 35 years (who didn't look at day over forty in the picture), had eleventeen grandchildren, yes eleventeen godly little poppets, all of which visited regularly and had a great and respectful time with grandpapa, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas when they rejoiced together at his holiday home in the Florida Keys.
The author was also a world recognized specialist in his field, writing for several magazines and appearing on many talk shows despite for the last 20 years, speaking faithfully and daily on his own radio and T.V show. And if that wasn't enough, the information also reported that he enjoyed 'snow skiing, water skiing, mountain climbing, motorbike riding, mahjong, marching in the Rockies, as well as canoeing and golfing among his many leisure activities. Good grief Charlie Brown! Reading this dust cover led me to think that this man must be on a stunning combination of viagra and crystal methamphetamine!

I was in my special reading room at the time of reading all this. So after closing the book and placing it back on the white porcelain shelf, I pulled my pants up, flushed ( it seemed appropriate), washed my hands and stumbled blurry eyed into the kitchen. If I didn't get hot tea with two sugars in the next few minutes, my right eye, which at the moment refused to follow my left in fully opening, would remain in this rebellious and redundant position all day. Arriving at my computer I cleared some clutter to place the cup down, (one day I would defeat these papers that constantly mocked me from my overflowing desk) when the mundane tasks of the day, like yapping puppies, began to remind me of their need for attention. Time to add to the list: vehicle tag chasing, teeth brushing, (must remember to floss today) fence mending (after the argument I had with my wife yesterday, that was going to take some time, after all, I had a lot of humble pie to eat, again!...), food finding (we needed to shop), feet washing (I had a couple of pastoral visits), and financing. Ah financing. Another red letter to deal with. Yes better get to that today. Then, work on my message for Sunday, write, be victorious, and rule and reign in Jesus precious name. Amen! After just one more cup of tea, I shall begin to do just that and especially take authority over this blessed paper work!

I opened up my electronic personal organizer and the items above my most recent list (additions which I had failed to deal with yesterday and the day before by the way) had also turned 'outstanding red' on my digitised task list. I hated those exclamation marks the computer insisted on placing alongside the overdue items. They looked like that rude gesture the well groomed little woman in the large Landrover threw my way just yesterday, when I stormed out of the house after the argument and maybe wasn't driving as attentively as I should. Oh dear. I was so angry. It was just a little bird the well groomed Landrover lady threw me but it hurt and it was all I could do to bless her through my gritted teeth! It wasn’t a good day yesterday and today wasn’t looking so promising.

The day had not even started, and truly, I wanted to just to crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head, and escape once more into the warm darkness of unconscious thought. Mahjong, mountain climbing and motor biking indeed! I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day! Maybe, if I got a personal secretary, a better computer, more respectful kids, a proper job that paid well, an understanding wife, a faithful car that had well under 100,000 on the clock instead of well over; and maybe if I got; and maybe if I went; and maybe if I did; and wait, wait! What I needed was to stop. Stop comparing myself. It's always bad news when we do that, isn't it? And we all do it. No, what I needed was to focus on my three C's. My divine calling, my personal capacity, and as many cups of tea as was needed for me to function effectively. 'Calling, Capacities and Cups of Tea!' This was enough for me.

Dear friend, find out what is 'enough' for you today to function effectively in the field to which you are divinely called. This is enough. Enough for anyone. (PS. Don’t believe everything you read on the dust covers of books, especially if they are Christian, for far too many ministers and their publishers have the gift of exaggeration!). Now go on, measure your capacity, get on with your calling and go put the kettle on.

Listen:- .. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Cor 10:12

Pray: - Oh Lord, my Lord, love me today and let me rest in You and Lord please make sure I have as many cups of tea as I need to make it through the day, in Jesus name I pray, amen.


Oct | 29 | God's Russian Dolls Are Always Opened In Reverse

Dream Word – DESTINY

Psalm 47:1-4 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, And the nations under our feet. He will choose our inheritance for us, The excellence of Jacob whom He loves. NKJV

God’s Russian Dolls Are Always Opened In Reverse

True Karmic destiny is to be content with your position and calling in life, even if you’re gifted as a doctor, but still cleaning out the elephant cages! Breaking Karmic destiny, creating bad Karma by ceasing to be an elephant keeper and actually becoming a doctor, can have grave consequences for both you and your family both now and in all future life cycles. So is the understanding on one ‘world view’ held by countless millions in other parts of this weird and weary world.

Tonight I do want to talk about receiving an inheritance, but in cosmic proportions and not in Karmic propensity. In others words, when God gives us an inheritance, though it has location with respect to boundaries, both materially and metaphysically, it also has within it, infinite room for eternal growth which can only be gained through a continuing conquest of personal faith. Yes, spiritual acquisition always takes faith, strength and courage! When this trident of pursuance is stabbed into the rear end of all our resistant enemies, they will eventually fall back screaming or be destroyed in the possession! Faith and the need to walk and act by faith is an eternal necessity for the pleasure of God most High. You are not as limited to where and who you think you are or for that matter, even what you do.
When God divides to us our inheritance, we still have the possibility, the need, the desire, even I believe, the expectation of God to also say to Him, “Give me this mountain!” Or, “Give me also springs of water!” Or “Give me also this better gift which I seek,” Or,..well you get the picture.

That possession God has divided to you is an unfolding, never-ending, expanding universe of conquest and discovery. There is no need to envy another person’s inheritance, when whole continents, planets, star systems and universes, lay waiting for the discovery in that particular inheritance which is yours. God’s gifts, you see, are like Russian dolls, the opening of which goes on forever and forever, amen. So, stop whining about your seeming inadequacies and instead start discovering the unfolding of all God's good gifts to you. There is more in you and more to come out of you than you ever imagined! Gods gifts to you, you see, are like Russian Dolls, except when you open them up and take out the next gift and shining possibility, the one inside is always bigger than the one it came from. Believe this and begin to enjoy your discoveries, for at His right hand are pleasures for ever more.

Listen: - For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29-30 NKJV

Pray: - Lord, what wonders lay waiting, all wrapped in sparkling paper, within Your purposeful and never ending gifts to me? Give me O Lord, a spirit of adventure to seek these out and help me take full possession of all Your inheritance divided in love to me, in Jesus name I pray, amen!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oct | 28 | Fling Out The Old Hag Today

Key Word:-CLEAN

Title:- Fling Out The Old Hag Today

2 Kings 9:30-33
Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window. Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, "Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?" And he looked up at the window, and said, "Who is on my side? Who?" So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. Then he said, "Throw her down."

A poor eyesighted pink-faced albino, with a head too large for his little body, the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) for some 60 years lectured at Oxford University in history, philosophy and divinity, eventually serving as both Dean and President. The problem with Spooner was that his tongue could not keep up with the lightening speed of his brain! A kind, hospitable, absent-minded professor, he was renowned for the frequent and hilarious slips of his tongue. 'Spoonerisms', now so famous, are phrases, sentences or words in language that have swapped sounds. For example Reverend Spooner, when one day eulogising about Britain’s farmers, called them “Noble tons of soil.” instead of noble sons of toil. Quoting 1 Cor 13:12, and wanting to encourage his hearers that their Lord was a loving shepherd, instead said that, “Our Lord is a shoving leopard.” Or when officiating at a wedding, he prompted a hesitant bridegroom by saying, “Son, it is now kisstomary to cuss the bride!” And finally, for today, during WWI he may well have wanted to hang out the flags when the boys came home from France, but in trying to re-assure his students he actually said, “When our boys come home from France, we will have the hags flung out.”!

Jehu, driving furiously, returned from war. His hands bloody with the death of bad kings, this hurricane of a half-hearted hero, swept clean the land of the ashes of Jezebel's tragic magic. She was waiting for him.

Even after the death of her husband Ahab, Jezebel, beautiful and powerful, still managed to infest the land with idolatry and manipulating witchcraft as her son, Joram, remained simply a pathetic puppet in her continuing strong hand. There is no question in my mind, that Jezebel follows the etymology of the word “hag,” in that she was demonised, and to such an extent, that her very spirit was corrupted, aged, ugly, slatternly, evil looking and frightening. All of this inward corruption mind you, was somehow seemingly cloaked in the dignity of an alluring royalty, her deep and suggestive eyes highlighted with inviting antimony. Even as her prophesied death approaches, the old hag still tries to summon up her proud seductions to use against Jehu; but not this time though Jezebel, not this time.

I am no misogynist when I say that Jezebel, that wild and wanton, wayward woman, has become a picture of every seducing, manipulative and powerful spirit, which will deceive and lure people away from God. There is something about this spirit that wants the power to rule; teach heresy in God’s name; encourage the eating of unclean things, and the immorality of unfaithfulness in all its forms. Such a marching monstrosity, you would think, would be seen in all its detestableness from a great distance; history shows us however that this is not the case. The utter blindness that the wide eyes of the sweet talking Jezebel spirit bring to us is truly astonishing. Friends look at the state of the organised church. Look at what we allow and are allowing in our very midst. What just a few years ago, would have been dismissed out of hand in our congregations as abhorrent sin, is now embraced wholesale and done so in terms of love and “live and let live,” compassionate understanding. Today, many of our bishops are full of her sins and her diseases and today, many of us are tainted with her awful antimony. It seems we need some eye salve from heaven's pharmacy to get the ruinous rot out of our heads.

When there is no fear of God Almighty; when all is calm in troubled “blighty” then maybe it is time for some of our fighters to return from the field? And maybe, when some of our boys come home, they will fling out the old hag once more?

Listen: “Nonetheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.” Revelation 2:20-23.

Pray: We bow our hearts, we bend our knees, O Spirit come make us humble. We turn our eyes from evil things, O Lord we cast down our idols. Give us clean hearts, give us clean hands, let us not lift our souls to another. Give us clean hearts, give us clean hands, let us not lift our souls to another. O God let us be, a generation that seeks; that seeks your face, O God of Jacob!


Oct | 28 | Remembering The Hidden Rock Piles Of Redemption


Joshua 4:4-7 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: "Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?' Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever." NKJV

Remembering The Hidden Rock Piles Of Redemption

There is little that is more enduring than rock. In my homeland, the famous Stonehenge and many dancing rock circles are even now intriguing testimonies to ancient communities long since wiped from the face of the planet. Yet, still the testimony of speaking rocks remain for there is little that is more enduring than rock.

My suspicion is, that God delights in rock more than He delights in any other non sentient part of His creation. The fixed, protective immovability of rock is at the very least, that which He desires most for us and in us. Yet I think there may be also a secret and metaphysical side to rocks yet to be fully comprehended, for what other singing sentinels stand so firm in the bearing of their living water-spewing testimonials? There is little more enduring than rock.

So, God wants us to remember and like so much of the Old Testament, begins to ‘book end’ the chapters of His redemptive story with rock alters and rock piles! In our text for tonight, it is from the middle of a presently dried up Jordan river, that twelve burly tribal representatives obey the command of God and remove the smooth stones to dry Canaan land, to stand as a generational testimony to what God has done for the Israelites. Yet tonight, it is not this rock pile which I am focused upon, but rather the ‘Joshua rock pile’ that is listed in verse nine:

 And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan, as the Lord had spoken to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day. Joshua 4:8-9 NKJV

Maybe Joshua was following some other unrecorded explicit command of God right here in verse nine, or maybe Joshua did this off his own bat? Who knows? Still, tonight underneath the rolling Jordan, lay twelve, now very smooth stones, all huddled together in the wet and fishy darkness! Here is a hidden rock pile, an unseen testimony, yet known by one and all who have been redeemed. Yes, the visible pile, up from the banks of Jordan, speaks of another pile of unseen rocks, brought from the wilderness maybe but now long since hidden, covered, all smoothed out and long, long time gone.

Our present life of victory, should be full of present and permanent testimonies to a salvation once wrought upon us, rock-like testimonies to a redemption from a dreadful slavery to sin and lost-ness in a wandering and dried-up wilderness, even though our old life, our past life, like Joshua's rock pile is covered and long lost in the way once parted for us.For every one of us tonight, for all the true Israel of God, I say that every past life sinful stone is hidden, is covered and is long, long smoothed out beneath the rolling waters of redemption that once piled up high at a city called Adam far, now so very far away. Look to your salvation's seen rock piles, and ask yourself tonight, “What do these stones mean to me?” They shall mean something special for you and especially, that everything else, everything my dear friend concerning your life on the other side of Jordan, is gone and lost forever in the middle of God’s redemptive pathway. It is gone, all smooth remembered rock covered in the depths of His love. There is nothing more enduring than a rock.

Listen: - ----and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan. Josh 3:15-17 NKJV

Pray: Jesus, when Your feet stepped into Jordan’s floods, t’ween heaven’s desire and the Father’s will, the waters rose up O Lord, rose up in a heap so very far away, at the base feet of Adam, hoping still and in the pathway of redemption, every testimony to my sin, is now covered by the waters of Your love. Thank you. Amen.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oct | 27 | Too Late Joe

Key Word:- ASK

Title:- Too Late Joe

2 Samuel 12:19-20 Therefore David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshipped.

Apparently it was the famous ‘Skirt Scene’ in the film ‘Seven Year Itch,’ that fuelled the flames of anger between Marilyn Monroe and her then husband Joe Dimaggio. He thought the scene was pure exhibitionism and the argument that followed, drove him to violence between them which then led, after just nine months of marriage, to divorce. In 1962 just 8 years later, Marilyn died of a drug overdose. Dimaggio, for the rest of his life, would send fresh, sweet smelling flowers to her grave, every, single, day.

We need to be challenged by this last sad picture. When a dream, a project, a desire, a person, is dead, it is too late to then effect change and blessing on those things. We can change, but for them it’s over. Regret may cause us to offer up many prayerful tears, and though this may be good for us, though this may be necessary for us, though it may be life itself for us, for the dead things, the passed things, the things that are gone, these prayers are as effective upon them as sending fresh flowers each day to the place where they now lay.

I wonder how much effect those flowers would have had, if for nine months Joe had sent them daily to a living wife? You see my point don’t you? Where there is life, there is hope. In our text today we can see that David knew this and it drove him to prayer.

Friends let’s make sure that all of our prayers are completed and that all of our desires and needs are laid like flowers before the throne of the living and all loving God each and every day of our lives. Yes indeed, let’s make sure we pray, while there is life and hope, sending fresh and fragrant flower filled requests to the living God each morning. Maybe when we have done this, we can then find rest in the Sovereign Grace of God. With whatever He then decides, we can rise up from our knees, anoint ourselves and move on, knowing that we prayed all we should; we did all we could.

Listen:- Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

Pray: - Lord, may my daily requests be like sweet smelling flowers to you O Living Lord. May all the colours of my deep desires delight your eyes O God. Lord, come to rescue, save, protect and provide today. Amen & Amen.

Oct | 27 | What to Do With This Old House

Dream Word – BECOME

James 3:11,12 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. NKJV

What To Do With This Old House

Britain still currently holds the abysmal record of producing the worst serial killer ever to the stalk the earth. The Doctor of Death, Harold Shipman was convicted for the murder of hundreds of his patients. No one really knows that actual number.

Before the horror of Harold, it was the ferocity of the serial killer Fred West, that haunted people’s dreams. Fred West and his wife Rose confessed to killing thirty people, many of whom were found to be an integral part of the structure of 25 Cromwell Street. This house has since been demolished and every brick has been crushed and every piece if timber has been burnt.
It is not 25 Cromwell Street that bothers me, but rather 27 Cromwell Street, the building next door, which was and still is at the time of my writing, a Seventh Day Adventist Church, still offering 'Sunday School and Divine worship on the Sabbath'. These services both are and were then, held right next next door to this house of death, I mean just feet from these grotesque happenings! Twice on the Sabbath and no doubt mid week as well, they would lift their faces to God Most High in prayer, for themselves, for their missionaries, for their communities and for their neighbours, even the people who lived next door to them. Imagine that.

As God looked down from heaven, He saw in the same screen shot, both the hands of these worshippers lifted high in praise and supplication and no doubt the pleading hands of women being brutally murdered, mistreated, begging for their life, before being hacked to death and hidden just feet away from the all the prayers and praise. God saw the living and the loving wanting to be anointed for service and sacrifice whilst next door, He saw the blood in the basement and the bodies in the walled-up chimney, their screams settled silent in concrete. One community of life and light pleading for mercy and another community of darkness and death, screaming for justice and both just feet from one another. All this happened down a simple street in England, down our street, down my street, down your street. Now tell me, how haunting is that!

In the same screen shot, God looks at every happening on our planet. In the same screen shot, God takes in every happening on our planet that has happened, is happening and will happen, in both space and time, all at the same time. Imagine that! Such knowledge is too much for me.

So we Christians all, draw near to God. Our lips full of praise and our hearts like the sinking Titanic. Some chambers playing ‘Nearer my God to thee,’ other chambers full of laughing and hope, others, behind the water-tight doors, already full of death and drowned bodies. Still other chambers sealed with murders, unforgiveness, vengeance, bitterness, greed, foul and pestilent thoughts and all this in the same body, just feet from one another, drawing near to God at the same time. Imagine that.

The growth of the new man, the expansion of the new heart, does not reclaim old death, but rather demolishes it, crushing every brick, burning every timber, letting the wind of God’s freshness blow the ashes across His own great deeps where they are dissolved forever in the blood of The Lamb. No, the growth of the new man, the expansion of the new heart does not reclaim old death, but builds something new and grows something better than there ever was before. God the Holy Spirit says, “Come on in! Let me show you around a little. Come and discover all the newness that is mine, all the newness that is thine and let me teach you, how to live in its freshness, how to live in its fullness, how to decorate it according to your eternal future and not according to your ‘piddly’ little past".

Let me encourage you tonight, to stop revisiting the old house of death, stop visiting with the Father whilst you are still inhabiting the old house of death! Rather friend, move houses, move into the new and living, ever growing, ever renewing, ever fresh and flowering new man of the heart. Let it be so!

Listen: - But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,  and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, Colossians 3:8-11 NKJV

Pray: Lord, do not allow me to decorate the new with the language of the old. Lord, do not allow me to put my old furniture on the rooms of the new. Lord, do not allow me to invite old smelly guests into my new home. Lord, do not allow, do not allow, do not allow. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Oct | 26 | “Throwing Pickled Mushrooms at God”

Key Word:- LOVE

Title:- “Throwing Pickled Mushrooms at God”

Revelation 2:4-6 Nonetheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place — unless you repent.

The opening chapters to the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ contain seven letters for seven churches. Seven little notes from Jesus to those He loves and who love Him. Though frankly they do not appear to look like love letters! In one sense these letters are to literal historical churches; in another, they are to the church militant as it marches through space and time, finding itself in these seven different phases which demand comment and correction by Christ; and in another sense they are letters to any church, anywhere, anytime that may manifest these attitudes or inclinations. In other words, these notes speak to us today, if they address issues in our life that are offensive to Jesus.

The renowned church of Ephesus the veritable delight of scholars throughout the ages, the doctrinal diva of the theologian, is the first to get the attention of Jesus. I am assuming that He who is the 'First and the Last' likes to encapsulate His messages in that which is both primary and paramount: love and faithfulness.

So, noting the correctness, the perseverance, the labour and faithfulness of the church at Ephesus, Jesus never the less addresses the primary issue when He talks of love. A particular kind of love at that. A first love.

Our shelves and digital directories are packed with books on love. The ‘how to’s’ the ‘when to’s’ and the ‘what not's’ of true love. All of which are very good and very helpful. However, the most disturbing yet common theme I have found, is the expectant embracing and acceptance of the morphing of first love into consistent and comfortable love. “After all,” say most writers, “the time and energy for most of us to keep up a passionate love affair with our spouses is neither available nor practical as we get older; especially with the diminishing of our physical energy and the growing demands of children, jobs and bills.” The answer to this is a ‘rock solid, steady, old shoe, comfortable, knowing and faithful love,’ which is to be greeted and embraced, almost with relief! Jesus says “Nonetheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

Wild and passionate, this untamed lion still seeks out sparks to fan them into flames of passion. “Love me” He says “with ‘all’ you heart, with ‘all’ your soul, with ‘all’ your mind.” “Seek me,” says He, “with everything you have and are and you shall find me.”

Let us lay aside the old lie of comfortable love and embrace the demands of Jesus once more. Love Him with unbridled and unrelenting passion! Love Him with eyes aflame! Love Him with sacrifice! Love Him with tenderness! Love Him with intent to win! Love Him with intent to die for! True love, tall love, tasty love, tangible love, telling love, total love! Love Him with ‘FIRST LOVE’ once again.

Listen:- “He was absolutely wild about being. He kept thinking up new ways of being and new kinds of being to be. One afternoon, God the Son came along and said, “This is really great stuff. Why don’t I go out and mix up a batch?” And God the Holy Spirit said, “Terrific! I’ll help you.” So they got together that night after supper and put on a tremendous show of being for the Father. It was full of water and light and frogs; pussy willows kept dropping all over the place, and speckled fish swam around in wine glasses. There were mushrooms and grapes and horseradishes and tigers- and men and women everywhere to taste them, juggle them, join with them and love them. God the Father looked at the whole wild party and said,” Wonderful. Just what I had in mind. Yeh!” And all God the Son and the Holy Spirit could think of was to say, “Yeh, yeh!” They laughed for ages saying things like how great it was for being to be, how clever of the Father to conceive the idea, how kind of the Son to go to all the trouble to put it together, and how gracious of the Spirit to devote so much time to choreography. They told old jokes to one another, and the Father and the Son drank their wine in the unity of the Holy Spirit and threw ripe olives and pickled mushrooms at each other for ever and ever.” Rev. Robert Farrar Capon

Pray: - Jesus. Let me begin again. I repent of my dryness, my shallowness, my shabbiness, my shame in not having my heart aflame for you. Lord, let the sparks fly! Let me begin to love You the ageless God with a fresh heart and fullness of passion. Lord, fill my cup with dancing frogs today. Amen.


Oct | 26 | The Real Road Show

Dream Word – COST

2 Samuel 24:24,25 Then the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. NKJV

The Real Road Show

An examination of the Old Testament use of the received tithe, that fictitious ten percent the church is always so focused upon, reveals that it was used essentially in three major areas, that is, for the support of personnel, the purchase and upkeep of premises and the financing various people-keeping, money-spinning programmes. Local churches of today and I suppose every Christian para-church organization uses the larger percentage of its collected finances for exactly the same 'three P’s' in the same old pod.

Now do not get wrong here! The workman is worthy of his hire, though often some Pastors just are not as worthy as much as we pay them and more often than not, many Pastors are worthy of so much more. Yes, the workman is worthy of his hire, and premises should be warm inviting and attractive, though not necessarily plushy, lushy and cushy, and correctly funded programmes are not only justifiers of our existence but they sometimes actually do some good. Sometimes.

O.K. so now we are clear on that, let me say six things tonight in closing.

Firstly, that ten percent of giving is far too much for some people. Giving ten percent of nothing, when you have less than nothing coming in and more than nothing going out is just stupidity. Either that or faith. I hope it’s faith, because that alone will please God, and that alone will unite your family in the cost of such sacrificial giving.

Secondly, that ten percent is just not enough for some people. Ten percent of ‘loads a money’ is an accounting line item that your accountant needs to use to ensure tax relief at the end of the fiscal year. There is no sacrifice here. No really, there is no sacrifice here.

Thirdly, that tithing though a Biblical principle is not a New Testament practice. The practice of the New Testament is the hilariously happy and regular giving of that which we have decided in our hearts. It might be a whole lot less than ten percent and then again it might be a whole lot more. It may vary from gift to gift and giver to giver and that’s O.K.

Fourthly, that if you have committed to regular giving to the 'three P’s' in that oh so pesky pod, then GIVE and GIVE regularly! Other people are relying on your regular committed giving.

Fifthly, that there is another principle to be applied to giving that precedes the hilarity of the task. Giving that honours God, giving that incites belief, giving that is astonishing and giving that will be utilized by the receiver in the most holiest and astute of ways, is giving that is sacrificial. Giving that can most easily have the largess of hilarity affixed to it is giving that has cost you something.

Lastly, a confession. It’s a double-edged confession really, in that on the cutting edge I tell you that I have given my all to God. Many times I have regretted it and often I have wanted to take it back and much of the time it has not been done with gay abandon. I am sorry to God for this sometimes, very reluctant gift. On the back edge of the gift I have to tell you as well that regarding the basic material stuff of life, in the form of food, clothing, transport and tools, it has cost me nothing to give myself away as a bond servant of Jesus Christ. That’s a little scary eh? The feeling, that it has cost me nothing to give myself away.

I do not know what kind of accounting software package the Lord has but I do know that He has got one and that it is open access, there for all to see. One day, we shall all know the true cost of our sacrificial works in terms of the gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay and stubble in the right hand column of God’s great balance sheet. I must tell you, that this is one of the great things that I am most looking forward to finding out about at the great Antiques Road Show in the sky. That is, finding out what is the real value of all our goofy looking investments! Imagine all those disappointed faces at the sad evaluations of treasures both touted and shouted about, and all the other wide-eyed intakes of breath that shall be seen and heard, when what some considered to be a piece of old junk, releases untold millions to the tips of their of well worn, tired and torn little fingers, that might be later spent at their leisure, in every angelic outlet shop, spread across the universe anew. Oh yes, even angels engage in trading and therefore engage in manufacturer. However, let us stop there at this flight of fancy….

Tonight, I dare not and I will not set myself up as anything but a reluctant disciple and a reluctant giver to boot, but I do find it interesting when considering these things, that on some counts I feel the cost of giving, yet on many counts I simply feel both the need to give and the pull of greed not to give. What about you tonight? In all your giving of self and stuff, What do you think shall be the real price tag placed upon all your giving to Jesus?

Listen: - If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour. John 12:26b NKJV

Pray: Thank you Lord for the great cost you paid for me. Thank you Lord for others that count the cost for me, of me, with me. I am willing Lord to pay the price of pleasing You right now! Help the hilarity of the gift become then that much more insane to my head and helplessly funny to my heart, to my soul and spirit and my body. Yes, help me laugh like a lion, in Jesus name I pray amen.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Oct | 25 | Non Nobis & Te Deum

Key Word:- WORSHIP

Title:- Non Nobis & Te Deum

Psalm 115:1 Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory,

It was today in 1415 when Harry, the young King of England was forced to engage an overwhelmingly massive French army. The Hundred Years War now played itself out on the Field of Agincourt in Northern France. Just eight weeks previously 11,000 English soldiers had laid siege to the town of Harfleur in Normandy. Disease and battle casualties had reduced the English force to no more than 5,000 men. At Agincourt the now exhausted archers, knights and men at arms faced a mighty and fresh French force of 20,000 men.

The restricted battlefield minimized any mounted maneuvering of the French and their heavy horse and armour found them floundering in the rising mud; their over confidence; the secret weapon of the English longbow; the violence of the English abroad, etc and so forth, have all become sources of enquiry as to why on that day, 6,000 French lay dead against 400 Englishmen, amidst one of the most recognized ‘great military victories’.

Henry V after further conquest, would just five years later, be recognized as heir to the French throne and regent of France. At the height of his power Henry would die of camp fever near Paris. The rest, as they say, is history.

Shakespeare, in writing of this great victory, has the bloody King of England marvelling at the overwhelming victory and replying to Captain Fluellen, insisted that the numbers of the French dead may only be reported, providing it be acknowledged that ‘God fought for us.’ To emphasize this thought the King commands the singing of two well known songs: ‘Non Nobis Domine’ and 'Te deum laudamus'; ‘Not unto us be the glory’, and ‘You, God we praise.’

The English had obviously expected defeat at such an overwhelming encounter, so a corresponding overwhelming victory led them to but one conclusion: God fought for them. Acknowledging that the French warrior mystic, Joan of Arc would also come to the same conclusion concerning later French victories over the English, it would be foolish to attribute just whose side God was on, if any! Today that is not my point but rather, my point is this: We must give honour and praise and glory where honour praise and glory are due. We must be sober enough to accept the praise that is rightfully ours and careful enough not to let it puff us up and blow us out! More so though, we must be careful and quick in acknowledging the gracious and intervening hand of God in our lives. Let us be careful not to take what is not ours. For example, have you noticed that beauty, majesty, thunder and lightening all illicit a natural awe to break out upon our lips? For every morning glory and every sunset star is His and everything before, during and after that, which is worthy of any praise should be acknowledged and given thanks for.

While we inhabit space and time we have an opportunity to give glory, that is, acknowledged worth and great honour to our Jesus. We should acknowledge His immense creative and upholding power. We Christians should be increasingly noisy about this and in this, for at the moment the earth grows ever and increasingly quiet about it. This creeping silence from our unthankful world is a sign of a spreading death.

So then friends, amidst the growing graveyard, let on our lips be life! Let’s build some bandstands alongside the tall tombs and sing some happy dancing tunes. Such praise might not only mock the mourners but just might raise the dead! Such praise will give some true perspective. Such praise will lead to revelation. Such praise will testify to truth. Such praise will feed our souls. Such praise will begin to shake the heavens. Such praise will shape and shake the earth once more.

Friends it is time today, to acknowledge and praise the Living God.

Listen:- The dead do not praise the LORD, Nor any who go down into silence. But we will bless the LORD From this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD! Psalm 115:17-18

Pray: - Worthy Oh worthy are You Lord. Worthy to be thanked and praised and worshipped and adored. Worthy Oh worthy are You Lord. Worthy to be thanked and praised and worshipped and adored. Singing hallelujah! Lamb upon the throne, we worship and adore You, make Your glory known. Singing hallelujah! Glory to the King! You're more than a conqueror, You're Lord of everything.

Oct | 25 | The Deal of Death

Dream Word – REAL

Luke 3:7,8 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? NKJV

The Deal of Death

I might have said this before, but like it or not, intended or not, the Paul Newman film classic, ‘Cool Hand Luke’ is a veritable mine of Christian Metaphor.

Taking note of the crucifixion-like posturing of Luke following his eating of fifty eggs, to all the crosses at the end of the film, I never the less especially like the fact that the character of Luke, is assigned the prison number of 37. Of course Luke 3:7 is our text for tonight and speaks to hypocrites regarding ‘fleeing the wrath to come!” And what are hypocrites, except those folk who are not true to themselves?
In any event, the film of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ is on the positive side, the story of a misfit and a rebellious one at that. It is the story of man who will not give up being who is, and in being who he is, brings hope, inspiration and happiness to the rest of the motley chain gang he is in prison with. These, in turn begin to feed on both him and his exploits. Like Luke Jackson, Jesus, in simply being who He was, most certainly clashed with those in authority and in the same way, that clash also most certainly brought life to others! There are many Christ-like comparisons to that fact in the film, but for tonight, I have found three things in the movie and in my own life that prove being your authentic self, does bring life and light and hope to others.

Firstly, please note that God has put certain people on this planet,who no matter how hard you or they try, just will not fit the standard mould of things, in any shape or form! These circus folk, these rebels who are too often without a cause, need to be celebrated for who they are and guided in the planning for what they shall become. Unfortunately and very often, all of society’s social misfits, are kept hidden in the attic, or way back in the research and development area of businesses that benefit from their seeming eccentricities, but are embarrassed by their exploits. Yes, in one way or another, this circus crowd is always hidden away because of their seemingly weird and wacky ways. Yet given the right kind of encouragement and direction, these shooting stars can shine brighter and longer than anyone ever imagined, across the sky of which they long to streak. Embrace such circus folk with happiness and laughter, for even though they might be firecrackers, they will light up your life and light up your world! God made them and their individuality needs to be seen as a gift and not a curse.

Secondly, know that all of us are cramped in some way by our sin sick societies. All of us are crippled by unnecessary rules and may I say, most of the sick, restricted, stunted, stayed and stifled people I have ever met are those which have been brought up in, or brought into the church of the living God! Like it or not, that is the truth. The church of the Lord of life, is often more guilty of the control of and perpetuation of death. The church needs to learn to release the uniqueness of the individual within its walls and outside to the world. Oh my, imagine when people are finally served into their destinies! Imagine what an uncontrolled explosion of life and light, might just envelope our communities of boring darkness. For darkness, death and Hell are above all things, boring. Think about that.

Thirdly and most importantly, please recognize the ‘deal of death’ which is often presented to firecrackers. I personally have had this deal presented to me so many times now, that I am astonished that the devil continues with the presentation! Yet he does and throughout the ages of time and the seasons of our life, still persists in his coming to us with the same sad deal.

This ‘deal of death’ and with it, the destruction of destiny, is seen in the Scriptures passing across the lips of the best friend which Jesus ever had on this planet, Peter the rock. Here the devil tries to use this best of friendships to scupper the eternal destiny of the Son of God and all who should be found in Him! From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’” Matthew 16:21-22 NKJV.

This ‘deal of death’ often comes from the best of places, the best of intentions and the best of friends, yet if you listen you can hear the serpents hissin.’ In the film ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ it is Luke’s best friend, ‘Dragline,’ played by Geroge Kennedy, who comes to Luke after his passion in the church and amidst all the sirens, police and the crazy correctional officers waiting to tear him apart, says to him with a nice big hopeful smile, “You’ve got to listen to me, all you’ve got to do is give up, nice and quiet. Just play it cool.”

There you have it! Do you see it? If life, if change, revival, love and light and world shaking can only come through the release of authentic Christians into destinies which are designed uniquely for them, then the devil will always, and I mean always, come to them come to you and say “Draw back, be quiet, be cool….” and my dear brother and my brave sister, when that happens, then ‘what we’ve got here, is a failure to communicate!’ For death of both the individual and the team will always follow such cowardly compliance to play it cool and draw back from our own uniqueness. Life will no longer be communicated when we draw back from who we are.

If you want to shake that tree your hiding behind, if you want to shake the earth for Jesus, then you must be all you are in Jesus and do all He wants you to do! Do not let anyone stop you being otherwise. Do not enter any deals of death! No, go on being who you are, for despite the embarrassment of the populace, true and lovely life will always follow hard on the heels of any release of your spirit.

Listen: - For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Psalms 139:13-16 NKJV

Pray: Lord, help us all tonight, to see beyond any restrictive boundaries set for us by others simply wanting us to play it cool, in Jesus name we pray, amen!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oct | 24 | The Devil’s Arse

Key Word:- HOPE

Title:- The Devil’s Arse

1 Kings 19:9 And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
I come from limestone country. The beautiful Peak District of Derbyshire contains some of the most magnificent caves in the world. Indeed, ‘Blue John’ a beautiful fluor-spar is only found in Castleton, the ‘Gem of the Peaks’. In this same town lies the 11th century Norman Castle of Peveril. Directly beneath this scary edifice, is the largest natural cave entrance in Britain and second largest in the world. This enormous cave, interestingly named as ‘The Devils Arse’ opens its wide mouth, only to eventually envelope you in utter darkness. I remember as a young boy being toured round the cave when the guide pointed to a small opening on the ceiling of an inner cavern and hauntingly reported that, “through this very hole, prisoners from the dungeon of Peveril Castle, were dropped into the cavern. The townspeople could hear their lost screaming for days as the prisoners, left to go mad in the unrelenting darkness, would eventually whine and whimper into silence and death.” For effect, the small lights were then turned out. You could not see your hand in front of your face and the whisps of cold wind brushing along your flesh, felt like taunting malevolence. ‘Reactor scram’ incidents on board a nuclear submarine, cruising a few hundred feet underneath the North Atlantic, are the only other time I have experienced such felt and hopeless darkness.

The Bible indicates that in ancient times, similar limestone areas were riddled with caves, which were used for burial, imprisonment, housing and refuge. Warriors, especially those involved in mighty conflict, would often retreat into them to hide from their enemies and lick their wounds. As many of you ladies know, even today, men still have their caves that they retreat into. Caves may provide some solace and protection for a band of brothers, but pity the man that enters such a cave alone. I am a Celt. Circumstances will often force me into the mouth of my cave. My temperament however, will always try to take me deeper. As a caveman myself, this is my danger, for there is no greater, nor seemingly inescapable darkness, no more terrible entrapment, no more desperate falling than that of dire depression.

Some of you will know, and allow me to use the name of the cavern under Peveril Castle to describe the mad death that comes with such overwhelming despondency, for truly, to be overcome by depression is to be devoured, in the ‘The Devils Arse’. Be careful how deep you go. Look: Elijah the prophet, battle worn and travel weary; only by the mercy and provision of God, arrives at Horeb thoroughly depressed, yet still at the place of revelation, he seats himself in the mouth of a cave. Look: David the King, battle worn and travel weary, only by the mercy and provision of God, arrives at Adullam, thoroughly depressed, yet still at the place of revelation, he seats himself in the mouth of a cave.

My observing of these two cavemen, has Elijah far deeper in depression than David. God has to come to him and draw both him and his problems out. David, on the other hand, appears to have spent the night in the cave gazing from the entrance to the morning stars and the rising sun. With the coming of the light, mornings warmth spreads through his body and he gingerly lays hold of his lute and sings a prayer of hope in the face of seeming hopelessness.

Rising from depression is just that: moving towards the mouth of the cave looking for the light, listening for God and singing songs of hope in the face of felt hopelessness. We need some light, some warmth to do this. We need at least to move to the front of our cave and watch eastward for His arrival.

Friend. What are you doing here? Look out, look up and listen. Feel the goodness of God oozing and easing into your being. Tell Him your story and sing of your trust and hope in Him. Put on the warrior once more and sing to your own soul today.

Listen:- Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. Psalm 57:1

Pray: - Send help O Lord from the sanctuary. Send wind and fire and earthquake; Send warmth to my soul Oh God and lift my head to the rising Son. Put a new song in my mouth today O Lord. Amen.


Oct | 24 | A Kicker With A Gun 'til Heaven Doth Come

Dream Word – CONNECT

Luke 3:7,8 Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? NKJV

A Kicker With A Gun, 'till Heaven Doth Come

Like it, or not, intended or not, released in 1967, the Paul Newman film classic, ‘Cool Hand Luke’ is a veritable mine of Christian Metaphor.

In 2007, Donn Pearce the writer of the both the novel and the majestic screenplay for this film, was still living and writing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Leaving home aged only fifteen, the author’s personal life is a rich source of story for the film. Pearce, lied about his age when joining the army in 1944, went absent without leave because he was a rebel against unnecessary rules, spent time in the stockade before the intervention of his mother, who finally informed the army of his true age. Thrown out of the army, Pearce then joined the merchant navy, travelling the world, only to be imprisoned in France for the black market counterfeiting of money! Escaping from the outside prison detail, he fraudulently made his way back to America where he took up a new career in burglary. Being imprisoned, aged twenty, for safe-cracking, he had to serve two years in the Florida State Department of correction chain gangs. At the very least, this young man experienced more of the bad life in those eight years than many would dare to do in 800 years! Having previously given up writing, as a much older man he had now taken up his pen once more. In those intervening years he had an office, where I used to live in Dania Beech, from which he arrested run away killers from the Carolinas and Store Front Preachers who moonlighted in the drug trade. I often wonder if some of the latter are still operating in that same trade in Broward county today!

I tell you all this because Don Pearce is not a financially successful author. He is struggling to take care of his ailing wife, and to find extra money for medical bills. He most certainly feels like Sysiphus, bound to an eternity of frustration in forever rolling a rock uphill and never reaching the top. Ben Alsup, writing in Esquire magazine from an interview with Pearce in 2005, records Don Pearce telling him one very particular story:-
“A man, beaten and bleeding, is crawling after a gun. Every time he comes near to laying hands on the gun, another man kicks it up the road a little farther, keeping it always just out of reach. The kicker holds a gun of his own. And the crawler knows, should he ever succeed in reaching the gun he's after, that the kicker will shoot him dead. The kicker knows this as well. Still they travel up the road. The crawler crawls, and the kicker kicks, and the road, it never ends.”

Friends, under this present sun, there is a seeming futility in the circle of life, there is seeming pointlessness to all our journeying. If that outrages some of you, then you are either too young, or too insulated to know the truth of it. The former condition is excusable and will pass with time, the latter however, is a chosen state of lunacy and the church is full of such people.

Tonight I say to you three things:

Firstly, enjoy your journey, enjoy the day, the night, the peace the fight, the hot still days and the wind borne kite. Enjoy life!

Secondly, enjoy your story! See yourself as a character within the pages of a book where you have a start a middle and an end, and with it a development. Enjoy being who you are and enjoy becoming who you can become. Enjoy life!

Thirdly and above all though, know that this story, under this present sun, is terribly tainted. It is marked with a curse and a futility, it is stained with loss, it is full of open crosses, upon which you might climb or be forced upon. In the middle of a groaning creation, all creaking and falling apart, happy endings are rare and frankly, so they should be. So, wherever you can, enjoy life!

You see, “What we’ve got here, is a failure to communicate.” The church under this present sun, is guilty today. Absolutely and totally guilty of selling snake oil to the masses. Guilty of promising heaven on earth. Guilty of promising better days ahead for a small weekly tithing. “Yes siree, just turn up, sit up, shut up and pay up and all shall be well this side of heaven!” I tell you now, this snake oil selling of better days under the sun for a small fee, is not Christianity and it is a damnable lie! Under the sun, life is tough, yes, life is often a kicker with a gun.

For you to find hope at the beginning, middle and end of your story, for you to find true hope at the end of each hard day of yours under this present sun, you must turn your mind to thoughts fantastical! Yes tonight and every night, you must steer your heart to the deepest of dreamy wonders. Tonight you must pass beyond the outer and much restrictive boundaries of human possibilities and step through the portal of child-like fancy, into gross and startling human impossibility! Tonight, you must fly, Peter Pan-like, into unknown worlds, even worlds to come, worlds that one day, as in the long, so long ago, will once more shatter the space-time dimensional boundaries and shine bright again in our forever changed and starlit skies. For friends, amidst the frustrations of the long journey which we find ourselves upon, true Christianity will be a dream yet realized, even an unclothed mystery yet to sprout its breasts of fullness. Do not forget tonight, that in our Christian story, the best is always yet to come, yes the best is ever and is always, “Milk and honey on the morrow, with skipping lambs and jam tomorrow.” Tomorrow, as much as you can, enjoy your life under this present sun but expect frustration until heaven doth come.

Listen: - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." NKJV

Pray: Lord, help me tonight to see beyond the boundary, in Jesus name I pray, amen!